Saturday, March 5, 2011

Wearing panda costumes to reintroduce panda cub into the wild

Image: Scientists measuring panda cub's temperature

Researchers dress in panda costumes at China's Wolong National Nature Reserve so that the panda cub doesn't get used to humans, in order to help re-introduce it to the wild. Previous attempts at reintroducing pandas to the wild had largely been unsuccessful. This is a new experiment. Rest of images at

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Did you know that you can't use the word Realtor?

In case the incident of Park Life's balloon dog is not surreal enough, Larisa Naples, who created an audio drama called "The Realtor and the CEO" received a series of cease and desist letters from the National Association of Realtors last week, demanding that she 'excise[s] all uses of the word Realtor from [her] URL, web site, audio-drama title, audio-drama art work, and audio drama recordings. Otherwise, they will sue [her] for "trademark infringement."'

She wrote (via email), 'I spent all of last week talking to trademark lawyers associated with the California Lawyers for the Arts, and legal advisers at ACLU and EFF. Apparently, we have a pretty clear first amendment right to use the word Realtor in a work of fiction, when actually referring to a Realtor (as we did), however, the estimated cost of hiring a lawyer to defend that right against a large, well-funded organization based in Illinois is prohibitive. We might win in the end, but could be financially ruined in the process.'

'I have closed New, "bleeped" versions of the audio drama stories are now available for free listening or download/purchase on my personal web site, Along with a carefully worded description of the stories, crafted to avoid making any use of the now forbidden "R-word."'

Friday, January 7, 2011

Certificate of Inauthenticity

San Francisco gallery Park Life received a cease-and-desist letter from Jeff Koons to stop selling a balloon-dog bookend. This balloon-dog bookend is orange in color, matte, and the size of a real balloon dog (made of a standard 260Q balloon). “Wait, I’m confused, isn’t his ENTIRE FUCKING CAREER based on co-opting other peoples work/objects?”, reads a post on the gallery’s blog from December 21. (Via Park Life Blog which is in turn via Artinfo).

If I were the gallery owner, I would sell the balloon dog bookend (priced $30), together with a copy of Jeff Koons's ceast-and-desist letter, for $70-$100 more, since this is now an art piece, and donate that part of the proceeds to a local arts organization that supports artists' rights.

Update 01.19.2010: This story is now on NYTimes.